Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- THE MEANING OF THE WORD
There is a relationship between righteousness and justification. The root of
the word righteousness is the root of the word justification.
- Old Testament words
- Tsaddiq - "to declare righteous, " but not "to make
righteous" (Dt. 25:1; Ex. 23:7; Isa. 5:23)
- Tsedeq - "righteous, just" (Job. 8:6)
- Tsadaq - "to be right, just" (Dan. 12:3)
- New Testament words
- Dikaios - "just" (Mt. 1:19; Lk. 15:7; 1 Jn. 1:9; Jn.
5:30; Rom. 7:12; Phil. 4:8; Col. 4:1)
- Dikaioo - "to declare one just or justified"
Mt. 11:19 - used of wisdom
Lk. 7:29 - used of the acts of man
Rom. 3:20 - used negatively of the law
Lk. 18:14 - used of the act of God in accounting righteous
Acts 13:39 - used of a believer in Christ
- Explanatory remarks
- Justification is a forensic term, i.e., one associated
with the courts of justice. It has nothing to do with how the man who has
been vindicated was made righteous. It concerns itself with the legal
pronouncement, of the judge that the person involved is thereby declared
- The meaning of the original words in both the Greek and
the Hebrew suggests the thought of "declaring righteous" in a legal sense,
rather than meaning to make one righteous or just. Justification is a term
that deals with our standing or relationship, rather than our state or
- Of ourselves, we are sinful. Therefore, before God can
pronounce us righteous:
- The sin problem must be taken care of.
- There must be the gift of Christ's righteousness to
1 Corinthians 1:30 - Christ is made unto us righteousness. In the sight
of God, we are righteous. To declare righteous is more than to pardon,
and actually it is more than to acquit.
- THE MEANS OF JUSTIFICATION
Not by the works of the law (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16).
The law was given to convict men of sin and to lead them to Christ (Gal.
3:10; Rom, 3:19-20,23; cp. Isa. 53:7).
- The origin - His grace (Rom. 3:24), freely, without a
cause. It is not on the ground of any desert in us. It is a gift God
bestows without pay.
- The ground of justification.
We are declared righteous on the basis of Christ's shed blood (Rom. 5:9;
Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21).
- The condition of justification.
- Faith is the instrument by which justification is
made mine (Gal. 2:16; Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:26; 4:5; 5:1). We are justified
when we believe in Him who shed His blood. b. We are justified in Christ
because of our union with Him (1 Cor. 6:11).
- Faith is the acceptance of God's method of
justification. Faith appropriates what grace provides.
- THE EXTENT OF JUSTIFICATION
- Every one that believeth is justified from all things
(Acts 13:39). The whole record is wiped out -- all things.
- The believer is made the righteousness of God in Christ
(2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; Rom. 3:21-22).
There is an exchange of position between Christ and the believer. Christ
took our place, the place of the curse (Gal. 3:3); He was made sin (2 Cor.
5:21; cp. Isa. 53:6).
When we are justified, we step into His place, the place of acceptance (Eph.
1:6, "accepted in the beloved and by the beloved"). The freed criminal has
the problem of being accepted by society.
To be justified is more than to be forgiven. Forgiveness is negative, the
putting away of sin. Justification is positive, the reckoning of positive
A king can pardon a man, but he can't make him righteous. But the King of
Kings not only pardons us, but declares us righteous. Thus, the believer can
hold up his head and say, "By the grace of God, I am righteous. " "I am what
I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
Jesus Christ is so united to the believer that God reckons our sins to Him.
The believer is so near to Christ that God reckons His righteousness to us.
When Christ's work is completed in us, we will be in actual fact what we are
in God's reckoning (1 Jn. 3:2).
- THE TIME OF JUSTIFICATION
Acts 13:39 - the moment we believe, God reckons His righteousness to us.
- THE RESULTS OF JUSTIFICATION
- Freedom from incrimination (Rom. 8:1, 33-35). No one can
lay anything to the charge of God's elect.
Dr. Moule: "Who will lodge a charge against God's chosen ones? Will God who
justifies them? Who will condemn them, if the charge is lodged? Will Christ,
who died, nay, who rose, who is on the right hand of God, who is actually
interceding for them?"
- Peace with God (Rom. 5:1).
The enmity between the sinner and God is put away by the cross (Eph.
2:14-17; Coi. 1:20, 22). "Peace with God" has to do with our standing. "The
peace of God" (Phil. 4:7) concerns our state.
- We are made heirs and are assured of future glorification
(Tit. 3:7; Rom. 8:30, also v. 17).
- We shall be saved from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9; Jn.
5:24; 1 Cor. 3:13-15.
- FOUR USES OF THE WORD JUSTIFY
- We are justified meritoriously by the blood of Christ.
The merit which is necessary for justification is found in the sacrifice of
Christ (Rom. 5:9; 4:25).
- We are justified judicially by God the Father declaring
us righteous (Rom. 8:33). The highest court of appeal.
- We are justified instrumentally by faith (Rom. 5:1).
- We are justified evidentially by works (Jas. 2:14-18,
Abraham was justified before God by faith and before men by his works Gas.
"The working man is not the justified man, but the justified man is the
working man," Evans
The tree shows its life by its fruits, but it was alive before either the
fruit or the leaves appeared.
The first three are the Godward aspect; the fourth is the manward aspect.
- JUSTIFICATION IS THE ACT OF GOD WHEREBY HE DECLARES
RIGHTEOUS ONE WHO BELIEVES ON JESUS CHRIST.
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